Hansel is an aspiring photographer with a greater passion for the half-naked models he works with than for his art. Gretel is a Drag Superstar—or will be, she’s convinced, the moment she’s discovered by…anybody. One night, out in the tony gay-borhood The Woods, they stumble upon The Sugar Shack, a second-story nightclub they’re both delighted to discover, Gretel for the nightly drag shows of which she’d thrill to be a part, Hansel for the vast free buffet. They meet the club’s owner, local drag legend Sugar Rush, who offers Gretel a spot on stage vacated by a last-minute no-show. When she wows the crowd, Sugar offers Gretel a trial spot on the Sugar Shack’s lineup, and invites Hansel to drop in anytime, and to bring his appetite with him. Gretel is a smash, and jumps at the eventual offer of a permanent gig. Hansel’s a hit, too, at Sugar’s private table upstairs in The Cage, where he lets Sugar flirt with him while he eats everything he can reach. He enjoys the attention almost as much as the loads of free food, but he’s about as gay as they get, and can’t see himself falling for a dude that looks and smells like a chick, even if she is gorgeous. She’s also an inveterate chubby chaser, Gretel points out to him one day, and her apparent mission to fatten Hansel up seems to be proceeding apace. Spending time with Sugar, Hansel’s horizons expand along with his hips, but will he ever see her as more than just his Sugar daddy? Find out when my new sexy short The Sugar Shack comes out from JMS Books in two weeks on November 9th! They don’t call ’em “fairy” tales for nothin’.
I have recently returned from a short trip to Japan, the land of the glamorous hot bath, pork cutlet curry, and (alas) millions of varieties of instant coffee. It was a work trip (ostensibly), and my “sightseeing” was limited mostly to the sights I could see from my hotel room window (namely the Narita airport, and typhoon Phanfone as she blew by), and yet at the end of six days (there was some Guam involved…) I was so loaded down with mementos I could barely zip my suitcase.
Why, you ask? Because, as you know, Japan is the birthplace and home base of my Souvenir Hero, Hello Kitty, and if she’s on something, I buy it.
We had a Sanrio store at the U-Hills Mall here in Denver when I was growing up, where you could get Hello Kitty pencils and weird candy, but even as a pretty fruity kid, the appeal of some expressionless cat sitting still in her overalls escaped me. It wasn’t until I started running around Japan as a grown man that she revealed herself to me as kind of a bad-ass. Continue reading
Sitcom sensation Felix Medrano is America’s Sweetheart. When he throws a star-studded surprise party for his sweetheart, beanpole barkeep Grover Shepherd, it’s a smash, save for one detail: Shep is a no-show. Felix plans to propose, but with no Shep, can he still get a Yes?
I’m new to Wayward Ink, who are themselves sort of new as a brand to the world of publishing. When I saw the call for submissions for Stranded, I was immediately intrigued, and made a series of laborious efforts to turn the theme on its ear. “Stranded how?,” several of my scribbled notes demand. Would I maroon one lover from another metaphorically, like by making one of them straight or married or can’t-take-a-hint? Would the separation merely be physical, as from a desert island or the wrong side of a lava flow, or should their obstacle be insurmountable, like time travel or the variably discernible line between fact and fiction? Oh, how I wanted to be artsy and brave…
Then one day, as I strolled through one — watching people scratch and claw and bargain and beg their way onto an airplane, any airplane — I realized: the only time I ever truly feel adrift, as in irretrievably removed from my life and my friends and my sanity — really and truly Stranded — is when I’m sitting around an airport on standby with no prospects and no viable plan for getting out. And so I played with that idea, and with this character called Shep, and with ways he might get stuck. But I wanted him to really feel stuck, so I tried to write him a quality romantic partner of the kind that one might badly miss while cooling one’s heels in the Houston airport, and by the time Shep started noticing Felix I was practically head over heels for the guy myself.
“Say Cheese” is the story, told partly through pictures, of how they met, how they fell in love, and how fate and a crazy best friend and a low fare airline seem determined to keep them apart. I love it. I’m thrilled to be a part of this anthology, in the company of warm, supportive, well-regarded writers, and I hope you’ll check it out and love it, too.
For a short excerpt from “Say Cheese,” please read on: Continue reading